One passenger traveling through the Charlotte, N.C., airport decided to pay it forward with a big tip for her waitress, all in honor of a Beagle named Scout.
Sound crazy? That's what Mijai Wallace, the unassuming waitress at Big Daddy's Burger Bar, thought too, until reading the touching note that came along with the whopping $60 tip for one cheeseburger.
"My dog has been in critical condition for a week," the passenger, Heather Hogan, of Atlanta, wrote last week on the piece of notebook paper along with three, crisp $20 bills. "When I landed in Charlotte, I got the news that the life-saving surgery she had this morning was successful. She will be ok! She will come home this weekend! I want to share my happiness with someone else. Have a drink on me and toast her good health. Her name is Scout."
As soon as Hogan, who had been traveling for work, landed on the tarmac, she got a phone call from her beloved Beagle's surgeon letting her know some good news: The life-saving surgery they just performed on 6-year-old Scout was successful, which was a huge relief because it was Hogan's one shot at saving her poor pup.
"As I landed in Charlotte her surgeon called and said she was just thrilled and was very confident Scout would make it," Hogan, 35, told GoodMorningAmerica.com of her dog that several different vets were unable to diagnose. "I just felt so blessed and lucky and so grateful. I stopped to get a cheeseburger and I was just feeling so great, and everyone was being so great to me, that I just needed to pass that along to someone else."
Lucky for Wallace, a single mother of two, she was on the receiving end of Hogan's good fortune and followed the note's instructions to a tee. She went out, bought herself a cocktail and took a photo of the celebrations honoring Scout with a note reading, "Keep waggin' that tail Scout! Get well soon."
However, she wasn't sure if Hogan would ever see it. Before Wallace could catch her name to thank her for the tip, she had disappeared.
"I didn't leave my name because I wasn't doing it for me," Hogan explained of her anonymous tip. "She was so busy and that place was so crowded, I just wanted to make her day because my day had already been made."
Hogan says she was compelled to pay it forward because so many people had quickly come to her aid throughout Scout's mystery illness leaving her lungs filling with fluid, which ended up totaling her $13,000 in veterinary bills. Unable to pay for the $7,500 life-saving surgery on her own, Hogan created a GoFundMe account asking for donations, which, much to her surprise, was met in less than two hours.
It was through that fast-growing fundraising page that local affiliate WBTV was able to help connect the two women, who are now planning to formally meet up so Wallace can meet Scout, whom she's already toasted, in person.
"We became Facebook friends yesterday and arranged to meet up in person so she can meet Scout," said Hogan.
And as for the much happier, healthier dog now, "She's back home," said Hogan. "She's recovering fully. Her main problem right now is she doesn't want to wear the shirt that keeps her from scratching at the stiches."